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Kagera residents laud CRDB for slashing interest rate

Kagera residents laud CRDB for slashing interest rate

KAGERA residents have lauded CRDB Bank Plc for taking a grand initiative by slashing lending rates to farmers and salaried workers a move that   will greatly stimulate the country's economic development.

Jacob  Kaimukilwa (65), a coffee farmer from Muleba district's Buganguzi village said "this is a great move of reducing the cost of financing agricultural value chain." Financial services have been one of the constraints of unleashing the potential of agricultural endowments  of our country, such as fertile soils and friendly weather condition.

The affordable financing coupled with  improvements in  productivity, Kagera and other regions  with best agricultural endowments are set to raise  their contributions to the national economy as well improve livelihoods of their citizens,' he said.

Kagera region is endowed with land and weather condition suitable for crops, livestock and forestry production. Equally, a good portion of Kagera is covered by various water bodies such as Lake Victoria, 15 satellite lakes and a number of rivers all suitable for fishing activities.

CRDB Bank Chief executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director, Abdulmajid Nsekela recently announced in Dar es Salaam that the lender had slashed interest rate to farmers from 20 per cent to nine per cent to boost lending to the key economic sector that employs over 75 per cent of the country's workforce.

The bank also slashed the lending rate for salaried employees to 13 per cent from 16 per cent. "The significant reduction in interest rates to farmers and workers was the result of   the bank's pledge and implementation of President Samia Suluhu Hassan directives issued last November that centered on boosting the economy," he said.

Ms  Jasmin  Hassan (25) a teacher at Izimbya secondary school, in Bukoba Rural district hailed President Samia Suluhu Hassan for implementing people-oriented projects adding that the CRDB move will have positive results on workers'  welfare.

"The CRDB Bank has taken the lead.....we hope that other financial institution such as National bank of Commerce (NBC),  NMB will borrow a leaf in  reducing lending rates," she said.

Deputy National Chairman of the Tanzania Coffee Research Institute (TACRI), Mr Andrew Kakama appealed for government intervention to enable coffee farmers in the country to access credit guarantee scheme.

Equally, he advised financial institutions including banks and mobile providers to  extend their wings to rural areas where most  of the farmers live. 'Most of the farmers in the country need credit guarantee scheme that will enable them to sell their crop to authorized agents while also stop them from selling  coffee at farm level an informal way known as Butula,' he said.

Kagera farmers produce robusta coffee which constitutes 60 percent of the total coffee production in the country. However, coffee produced by small-scale farmers was threatened by smugglers who used to take farmers' produce at a throw-away price to neighbouring countries.

Coffee farmers in Kagera Region have been historically smuggling the crop to neighbouring countries, while some were selling them in an informal system called "butula".

The robusta varieties were high yielding and resistant to the coffee berry disease. A well managed robusta coffee plant could produce up to two kilograms enabling a farmer to pocket at least 6,000/- per kilogram compared to the current 1,200/- per kilogram.

Clonal coffee yields three times more coffee and is resistant to the coffee wilt disease. The word clonal means that the coffee plants have been multiplied asexually from a single parent plant or clone.

Coffee is grown in Bukoba, Muleba, Karagwe, Kyerwa, Ngara and Missenyi Districts in the western areas along Lake Victoria.  This constitutes about 50 per cent   of   the total coffee production in Tanzania.

The production of crops, livestock, tree production including beekeeping as well as fishing all form the basis of the agricultural value chain. Apart from the production, the agricultural value chain constitute  transport, storage, value addition for example processing and packaging, marketing and trading. All these nodes of the agricultural value  chain ought to benefit from the affordable financing.

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Author: MEDDY MULISA in Bukoba    

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